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Effects of Unethical Advertisements on Society and Religion

Unethical Advertisements Acknowledgement

Thanks to Allah Almighty, who pulled us through the times when every stone was turned against us. He and only He dawned new horizons for us when the darkest fog made us blind, who is really the Best Manager of the entire universe. Without His consent, nothing is possible.

Thanks from the recesses of our hearts to our to the Most Respected Teacher for his Untiring efforts, his Valuable Guidance and Precious Advises are rare Assets for Us.

Many people contributed ideas, samples and advice, so many in fact that it is simply not easy to name them all. Therefore, we wish to thank here the members of our families, relatives and those who had to endure the most, during the preparation of this project, which took place at odd hours of the early mornings, late nights, and weekends. We also offer heartiest thanks to all the persons who guided us and encouraged us to complete this tough task successfully.

Introduction of Ethics

Ethics are the social and moral values and principles by which we live. These values tell us what is good or bad and right or wrong.

Business ethics is the branch of ethics that examines ethical rules and principles within a commercial context.The various moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business setting; and any special duties or obligations that applies to persons who are engaged in commerce. Those who are interested in business ethics examine various kinds of business activities and ask, “Is the conduct ethically right or wrong?”They can be applied to all aspects of business. Businesses the society for its resources and  functioning, thereby obligating it to the welfare of the society.

Unethical practice on a grand scale is evidenced by the many serious infractions, both financial and environmental, that have occurred over time. Strategies such as code of conduct, code of ethics and policies and procedures developed by various international entities can guide corporate in an effort

While the objective of all business is to make profits, it should contribute to the interest of the society by ensuring fair practices. However, greed has led the present business towards unethical business practices, legal complications and general mistrust.

Unethical Advertisements

Unethical advertising is when you promise something you cannot deliver. Ethics in advertising can sometimes be border line between what is right or wrong. Using advertising in a way that is misleading and uses false claims to get the public to buy the product they are trying to sell is unethical, because of its misuse of the information that is presented to the public. Lying about what the product, gives false information and makes they believe that something is true when it is not. Unethical advertising is not only unacceptable, but also unfair and potentially costly for the consumer.

Also Study: Forbidden Ethics in Advertising with Examples

Unethical Advertisements effects on society, Religion and individual

The primary focus of advertisement is to enhance the business profitability therefore companies ignore many social aspects while designing an advertisement campaign. In contemporary marketing practices, Advertisement means to create a need of the product in the mind of the consumers to influence its mind in a way that he feels thrust for that product weather he really need or not. To create images for the products advertising professional’s uses variety of things like drama, music, action, sex, animated & functions characters and so on.

The involvement of sex, romance is much dangerous for society but now the plays being telecasted are filled with unethical and morally destructive material. It have shocking effects on Pakistani society and this destruction will be out of control. The majority of audience/viewers of these show business consists of housewives and underage girls, they are secretly being advised for the promotion of products, and “having sex with a lover and that it is not a sin or something shocking”.

Islam not allowed stealing, lying, committing adultery, gambling, eating pork or drinking alcohol.Social and cultural are effects by products of advertising, but they are central to the interest of those who are fearful that advertising has too much influence on our view of the world.

Defenders of advertising say that advertising only mirrors culture in order to create sales appeal. But the mirror is unclear. Advertising is so comprehensive that this clearly faulty mirror has become an authority on what the culture “should” be. The mirror tells us about an ideal life, toward which we all should strive using the products recommended. Advertising functions as did the story teller in ancient times; by telling us its stories, it transforms culture into a consumer culture. The commoditization of culture is the result of linking the culture’s symbols, norms and values to good.

These social problems can be seen in Pakistan in the form of losing the cultural and religious values. Free intermixing of opposite sexes, which is not allowed in Islam, create countless social problems, which is promoting through advertisement media. Confusion is created between the new generation about what is Islamic and what is non Islamic and this ethical dilemma leads the generation towards identity crises

The rationale for dealing separately with American or Western advertising and advertising in the rest of the world is that advertising has become such and integral part of Western culture. Also, American society has become the model for that way to advertise all over the world. When operating globally companies advertise in non-western parts of the world using the same Western reflect for their advertising, though they will sometimes use indigenous models as well.That has a negative impact on the society of Muslims and tier norms and values because that type of advertisement encourage to the people towards materialism and capitalism.

By showing Western advertising in non-Western countries, the ideal Western lifestyle and culture are promoted. The critics of “cultural imperialism” say that this leads to cultural unfriendliness. That also lead us Muslims communities towards the globalization. Advertisers say that it does not make sense not to target original culture because in that way they will lose sales, whereas sales are their ultimate goal and they do everything for their profit.

Advertising also lead to frustration and people spend their lives to get more and more and have pleasure seeking behavior. They make a concept of having luxury goods is a ideal life and people can’t afford it so that they don’t follow religion and moral values and have a pleasure seeking behavior. Criticisms of advertising are less criticisms of capitalism than of its result: consumerism. People do not need all the products shown in order to be happy. We can do without the “materialism” which is used so often to stereo typically describe American society, but which in fact describes most of the Western industrialized world.

Nudity of body parts in the advertisements is a critical issue that currently dominated the whole world including Muslim countries. However its intensity is varying within the Muslim countries. In Saudi Arabia the whole advertisement campaign has to be changed as it is strictly prohibited to show body parts except face and hands, On the contrary it is mentioned in the Quran “Say to the believing men that they restrain their looks and guard their private parts. That is purer for them, And to say the believing women to restrain their looks and to guard their private parts. (Quran, 24:31, 32)

While in Dubai, UAE the same version of advertising campaign as designed for the USA or Europe is used due to the more liberal nature and same things are happening in Pakistan as well.

The features and quality that is being advertised and perceived by the people should be there in the product. Islam believes in equality of rights where justice has a key importance, misleading the people by showing them the overrated features are considered as injustice. Islam doesn’t tolerate to do injustice with the people even if there is a risk of loss in the business. It is clearly mentioned in the book of Allah that, “Standout firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourself, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor….” (Quran, 4:135). Selling a product by telling a lie is totally against the Islamic way of doing business. The Prophet of Allah said “The sign of a hypocrite are three 1. Whenever he speaks he tells a lie. 2. Whenever he promises, He always breaks it. 3. If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest” (Al-Bukhari, 1.32)

In many Television advertisements of Pakistani media, this problem can be seen. For example in Motorcycle adds, it is frequently claimed that this motorcycle can run 70 to 80 KM in one letter but in actual it runs only 50 KM. This is the example of the exaggeration in the product, which is not acceptable in the Islamic way of business.

The problem begins when the people in the society have considered these shiny stars as their ideals are try to be like them. In doing so they ignore their religion and cultural and loss their identity. Ultimately these courses of action produced confuse and depress generation.


According to the “mirror theory” put forth by some defenders of advertising, the industry simply takes its contents from the culture, transforms them and throws them back. But a change occurs when culture’s symbols are associated with goods. The meanings of images and ideas are infused into products and services, just as the meanings of products and services are infused into images and ideas. Advertising then releases the changed meanings back into a commercialized world ready to deliver products and services. This process is somewhat parasitic, feeding on the products of noncommercial culture — ideology, myth, art, sexual attraction, even religion — for commercial ends.

It can go even further. Commodity imaging constructs the precise ideological focus most appropriate for a certain market situation. It builds dense sociological systems out of a selection of cultural items. In this way commodity imaging can, to a degree, be ideologically creative, and it may bring about a real change in the culture’s symbols.

Advertising does contribute something by reconstituting meaning, rather than merely reflecting it. The devoured cultural contents retain their affectivity, but are stripped of their context and are “sold back” to the consumer as a new cultural system — with new, commercial values replacing the original noncommercial values. For example, women are commoditized to sell almost everything: cars, perfumes, etc. Their bodies, sexuality and mystique are traded. Today’s mass advertising has less to do with products than with lifestyle and image, not reason but romance. Therefore, it is a cultural system instead of an informational system. But it is an incomplete cultural system, since the real values of its noncommercial contents have been drained out, leaving only their affects attached to commodities. Furthermore, only the pleasant side of life is shown, not the unpleasant and painful experiences with which a complete socio-cultural system must cope.

The unclear image reflected by advertising is tradition, an effect of appealing to the lowest common cultural denominators, with which all will agree and which can offend as few as possible. In the constructed world, the safe compromise but false unity of perspectives which advertising shows is represented as our deepest and natural desire. The middle-of-the-road approach, the fear to offend any group, has been politically institutionalized. Therefore, as an ideological vehicle, advertising is not just constrained by the logic of hugging the middle of the road, but also becomes subject to the pushes and pulls of cultural politics

Children and Unethical Advertisements

At the age of five or six, children have trouble individual desire from reality and make believe from lying. They do not tell between programs from ads, and may even prefer the ads. Between seven and ten years-old, children are most at risk to “televised manipulation”. At age seven, the child can usually distinguish reality from fantasy, and at nine, he or she might suspect deception in ads — based on personal experience of products which turned out not to be as advertised — but they cannot articulate this and still have “high hopes”. By ten, this has begun to turn into the cynical view that “ads always lie”. Around eleven or twelve, the child begins to accept and tolerate adults lying in ads. This is the real birth of the adolescent’s enculturation into a system of social hypocrisy.

Due to their lack of experience, young children have less resistance to advertising, and it may be especially harmful because of their inability to distinguish it from other programming. But the frame of reference for judgments of “reality” or “fantasy” can shift. Children asked whether a “realistic” drama about a school was “real”, replied that it was not, “because it was not like their school”. The considerable similarity of the television portrayal to their own experience, but with discrepancies, had actually increased the children’s perception of it as “unreal”.

Another problematic area is advertising’s tendency to view only positive aspects, avoiding ugliness, pain, and other negative dimensions of real life. In this it differs from education, other contents of mass media, and similar, more balanced modes of presentation.

The content of advertising has long been subjected too much criticism. This was discussed earlier, and is accentuated in its impact on children. Stereotyping and raising children’s expectations higher than can be fulfilled might be stressed. So might the way advertising plays on existing fears and constructs irrational fears. These visions of advertising see it as a malignant, rather than a benign influence, as pervasive and often as immoral.

Television, in general, has also changed the image of the child in modern society, and advertising may amplify that change. In earlier times, children were regarded as “sweet” and “different”, incapable of adult responses. Now there is a tendency to portray them as “kids”, streetwise, amusing, and interested in excitement and fast action. Kids really know more than we give them credit for and should not be talked down to. If that stereotype comes to affect adult-child interactions, little leeway would seem to be allowed for either discipline or education. From another perspective, children are seen as living in an “age of innocence” — trusting, naive, uncritical. Adults who act upon this stereotype are likely to regard television as unmitigated evil, seducing and taking advantage of the innocent and defenseless. Most of the washing powders companies use children in their advertisement. We can use the example of a commercial of Surf Excel, where a kid is trying to please his teacher, who has lost her dog. The children try to woo the teacher by making some crazy gestures and doing activities that a dog would do. The kid gets some intense and heavy stains on his clothes, while playing in mud, while he was acting like a dog. The company just wants to show that their detergent powder is capable of removing the worst of the stains. This could have been done, even without using the kid in the advertisement. Using a child and making him do some activities which should not be done by children of his age (5-6 years) is unethical on the part of the company. This has been done by the company to Win emotion of the customers. The company has done this because a lot of children will force their parents to buy the product as they could connect with the advertisement.

The company could have used an adult, as the product they are dealing with is no where related to children. The company just wanted to create an impact on the viewers that their product can remove heavy stains, with great ease. A mechanic could have been shown who comes home after the work with an extremely dirty shirt and his wife could have been shown using Surf Excel to remove the stain.

Moral values and social norms are created in Advertisement

The belief that moral values and social norms are shaped by media messages is not just educational; these assumptions support many of the fears about the impact of American television on developing societies, encouraging government agencies to implement policies of cultural protectionism, as illustrated by the Bhutanese example. Societies frequently limit the import of certain types of cultural products that are considered offensive to public decency, such as laws against trafficking in child pornography. Many countries have official rating systems classifying the contents of movies, designed to inform parents and to protect young people.

There is an “imperative requirement” that advertising “respects the human person, his right duty to make a responsible choice, his interior freedom; all these goods would be violated if man’s lower inclinations were to be exploited, or his capacity to reflect and decide compromised.

These abuses are not merely thought possibilities but realities in much advertising today. Advertising can violate the dignity of the human person both through its content what is advertised, the manner in which it is advertised and through the impact it seeks to make upon its audience. We have spoken already of such things as appeals to lust, vanity, envy and greed, and of techniques that manipulate and exploit human weakness. In such circumstances, advertisements readily become “vehicles of a deformed outlook on life of individual, on the family, on religion and on morality an outlook that does not respect the true dignity and destiny of the human person.

This problem is especially sensitive where particularly helpless groups or classes of persons are concerned: children and young people, the elderly, the poor, the culturally disadvantaged.

Much advertising directed at children apparently tries to exploit their innocence and suggestibility, in the hope that they will put pressure on their parents to buy products of no real benefit to them. Advertising like this offends against the dignity and rights of both children and parents it intrudes upon the parent child relationship and seeks to manipulate it to its own base ends. Also, some of the comparatively little advertising directed specifically to the elderly or culturally disadvantaged seems designed to play upon their fears so as to persuade them to allocate some of their limited resources to goods or services of dubious value.

Scientifically advertisement of drama culture is the particular habitat where different species of animal lead their lives with a high degree of interdependence. In this culture some animals are powerful while others are weak, stronger animal dominant the weaker ones and ultimately they swallow the weaker animal’s b/c animal have no knowledge and wisdom. But there is an animal, which has knowledge and wisdom but also, behaves like proud animals, this animal is human being. This animal uses different tools and ways to disgrace weaker section of the community.

Teenagers in the all over the world become addicted to cigarettes. The tobacco industry argues that its advertising is not aimed at recruiting these young new smokers. Its representatives say untruthfully that advertising by individual tobacco companies’ targets adults only and serve only to encourage regular smokers to switch brands or to retain brand loyalty. However it has been seen that perception of cigarette brand advertising actually is higher among young smokers and that changes in market share resulting from advertising occur mainly in this segment. Cigarette advertising thus undoubtedly encourages youth tosmoke. In a survey Medical Association, it was stated that the success of the tobacco industry is dependent on recruiting people who don’t believe that tobacco kills-thus enticing children, developing nations populations, and disadvantaged members of society to smoke is the only way for tobacco companies to make up for the number of smokers who quit or die Tobacco advertisements are another ethical concern as far as advertising is concerned since a large number of cigarette advertisements tend to appeal to the teenagers by emphasizing youthful vigor and independence. A large number of tobacco advertisements it is believed are directed towards the younger population and this is a luring technique which encourages the teenagers to start smoking at an early age. Companies spend billions of pounds on tobacco advertisements. Tobacco Company since they directed their advertisements to children as young as 14 years old. As this 14-24 age group matures, they will account for a key share of the total cigarette volume for at least the next 25 year.So this makes it clear that tobacco advertising is another ethical problem at a massive scale and effects children as young as 12-14 years old. Another problem with advertising that of the food items as children are very valuable to the food industry and this constitutes to unhealthy eating habits in children as young as7-12 year old. The food advertisements that children see are normally of foods that are high in sugar and fat contents and this leads to obesity among children but the companies don’t effect with these things they work just for their profit.

Many local and multinational companies in Pakistan use young models in their advertisements that wear such dresses that is not up to the mark of social conduct. The concepts used in these advertisements are not openly discussable and dresses are also not socially compatible. For example the concept use in advertisement of women contraceptives is not like to be discussed publicly because it is against the social value of the society.

These advertisements may have no issue in western culture but in Pakistan, it is considered unethical. Also in beauty soap and shampoo advertisements, the dresses of models are not socially or religiously compatible.

Advertising wounds us with the message that our current life is rubbish, and then asks for our credit card number as way of making things right

One of the largest trends of advertising that we have seen is the wearing of a cross. What used to be a symbol of one’s’ beliefs and values has become a mere fashion accessory. In the world of celebrities and “bling-bling,” a word associated with the amount of visible jewelry shown, a platinum cross medallion adorned with diamonds and/or jewels is a sign of wealth and defines your degree of celebrity.

Alcohol and drugs

Alcohol is banned still and rightly so, but the pharmaceutical companies are hawking their products to innocent people who often insist on being given medicines on no more information than that is peddled in their living rooms via television. Allowing patients to actually see what’s in the doctor’s little black bag is both good and bad. It gives them more options into their care which is useful but it often forces doctors to go against their better judgment; how many patients can they afford to lose? They have offices to maintain and a staff demanding pay.

What we can be done, by spendingless advertising by the products and pharmaceutical companies and more money spent on educating the public about the diseases they are out to cure. There simply is too much emphasis on buying rather than on decision making. This is what allows advertising to lead weak people into avenues they would be better off bypassing.


These advertisement practices currently dominated the whole world including Muslim countries. Pakistan is also one of those countries where these advertisement practices have influenced the huge population. Local as well as multinational companies use young star models with a degree of nudity in advertisements to attract their customers. Also a shiny picture of the product has been shown to the customer, which is an exaggerated form of the actual product.

Islamic business ethics does not allow anyone to sell a product by showing such features that are not possessed by the product. Islamic business ethics encourage a fair communication, which is based on truth and justice.

There is a need of re-evaluation of educational system in Pakistan. Business education must be integrated with the Islamic code of ethics and Government should make such policies that are compatible with Islamic way of business and advertisement. From the basic level to higher level, Islamic education must be integrated in syllabus as a compulsory subject. Government should restrict such advertisements that include such elements, which is against the culture, religion and morality of individual.

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